Friday, April 18, 2014

A look at Exie's evolution in sprite form (Witch)

It's Exie!

So you may or may not know that I’m working on graphics for a simple shootemup called Witch, featuring the character from my pixel art comic, Constellation. Having never done graphics for a game that would have to actually be playable, I’ve gone through several redesigns of the player character’s sprite.

LET’S TAKE A LOOK!! (process chat and lots of pixel art behind the cut)

First design; it's pretty assy. I was going for a much lower-res look at first, but found that it made things difficult when it came to getting across the amount of character I wanted to. Some folks have managed a lot more with a lot less resolution, but I’m still really green when it comes to pixel art so I decided a higher-res approach was the way to go. Also the colors are totally wack and the whole thing kind of looks like shit so

WHOA THERE GUY! I doubled the resolution of the the graphics starting here, and ended up with a much larger sprite as a result. Way too large, actually. However, there was lots more detail and an actual facial expression, plus I liked the extra volume I was able to achieve with the highlighting/shading, making Exie's pose look nicer. The actual art is very rough, though—it was a matter of having more space to play with than I could actually handle.

Just a small improvement to the dress and color. Man, the faces on these two are busted.

This is much better. I ditched the side-saddle pose for something a little more dynamic and traditional—in trying to keep the character’s form factor as compact as possible I didn’t lengthen the broom as much as I should’ve, making it look pretty weird. The hair isn’t as much a mess and her face is much cuter, but…that chin…

Now we're getting somewhere! It’s a full head shorter than the previous one while still having some nice detail. The glowing outline will help to make the character stand out against a busy background or when surrounded by bullets. Plus it’s cute as a button and will play better off of the enemy sprites; previous Exies were kind of dwarfing the poor guys. The pose isn't quite as active in some ways (she isn't leaning forward as much), but I think the forward facing legs make it look more zippy and maneuverable on screen.

Finally, here’s a comparison of their sizes. I’m glad I kept refining it, since you’ll be seeing her more than anything else in the game!